A slimmer from Burnley, who shed five stones in just 12 months, is to represent Burnley in a national competition.
Julie Cowgill was named as Burnley's Slimming World Woman of the Year after dropping from a size 18 to a 10.
She has now been chosen to represent the Turf Moor 1882 Lounge Slimming World group in the nationwide Sliimming World Woman of the Year competition, 2017.
Julie will go forward to the regional finals of the competition, putting her in the running for the national title. The winner, who will be announced in November, will take home a £3,000 cash prize or a five-day holiday in Dubai.
Caroline Griffiths, who runs the Turf Moor group, says: "I’m so proud of Julie. She’s a fantastic ambassador for Slimming World and what she’s achieved is nothing short of incredible.
"She is a fantastic inspiration to everyone in our group and I hope she inspires other women – and men – in Burnley to change their lives in the same way."
Julie, who is 48 and lives in the Briercliffe area of Burnley, said that losing the weight had helped her to feel more comfortable in her own skin.
She said: "When I started out I never dreamed I’d be able to achieve all that I have.
"Losing the weight has made such a big difference – it’s changed my life. My health is better, I have more energy and I’m much happier now."
Julie joined Slimming World in January, 2016 after becoming increasingly unhappy with her size. The weight had crept on over the years and she found herself snacking on high fat biscuits and sweets at work.
Julie tried lots of different diets but usually ended up miserable and hungry but when she joined Slimming World she found it was "completely different."
She said: "I never have to miss out and I don’t have to get hung up on weighing and measuring everything I eat.
"My family and friends are all amazed by how much I can eat and still lose weight. I still eat many of the same meals that I did before I started losing weight, like spaghetti bolognaise, curries and roast dinners.
"Now I just prepare and cook them differently and they taste so much better. I’ve picked up lots of new healthy recipes from the other members at my Slimming World group."
"I know a lot of people worry about joining a slimming club because they don’t know what to expect.
"Right from the first moment I walked into my Slimming World group I felt comfortable though, and the support I’ve received has been amazing. I look forward to going to group each week."
Julie lost five-and-a-half-pounds in her first week and as the weight came off Julie's fitness levels increased and she now enjoys walking.
Now at her target weight for eight months Julie said: "I feel like a different woman to the person who walked into Slimming World 18 months ago and winning Woman of the Year is a real honour because there are so many amazing members in our group.
"I remember feeling like there was no hope when it came to my weight but I’ve realised that when people believe in you, and you believe in yourself, you can do anything you set your mind to.
"I really hope my weight loss can inspire other people to get started on their own journey and know that there’s a whole group of people waiting to support them every step of the way – especially at the Turf Moor 1882 Lounge group."